John Bailey (Llanrwst) was the cream of the crop as he picked up his first title in the main event at the Isle of Man Bowls Festival last week, having been successful in the Tourism competition in previous years.
He began his day with a last bowl victory over Neil Rigden (New Longton), before getting the better of former champ Wayne Ditchfield (Kirkham) in the semis.
His opponent, Mark Hughes from Crossgates, began with a 21-16 win against Chris Slater (Colwyn Bay); then cruised to the final by beating another Welsh player, Gwerydd Buckland (Bangor City).
The destination of the Derek Killey memorial trophy was ultimately decided by a great spell in the middle of the game when Bailey notched up five successive two’s to turn a deficit into a seven point advantage.
He led 19-12 at this stage, however Hughes then dug deep to increase his total to 16, but it was not to be for the Crossgates man, who had won the Tourism event back in 2012, as his opponent scored the two required to taste victory with a 21-16 scoreline.
Competing in the quarter-finals of the ladies main tournament were locals Lyn Bolton (South Ramsey) and Caroline Parker (Mooragh Park); Lyn making it through to the semi-finals, whilst Caroline lost out in her opening game.
This final was fought out between Anita Richardson (Hoylake & Melrose) who had beaten Bolton, and Angela Gaut (Wrockwardine Wood) who eliminated her fellow Shropshire opponent, Julie Pearce (Meole Brace) in the last four.
Gaut, who had also been successful in the Tourism competition on previous visits, trailed her opponent in the early stages, before moving ahead 16-15 after 18 ends.
Richardson then put five chalks on the board, compared to just one for Gaut, and was on the brink of her first success leading out at 20-17.
Having been beaten in a pre-festival competition and not wishing to lose out in two finals on the Island, Gaut showed her battling qualities and notched up the four points needed to win the ladies September festival rose bowl.
Lyn Bolton won the Blanche Kaye memorial cup for the furthest Manx player in the ladies contest; whilst her club-mate Alan Moore did likewise in the men’s tournament, collecting the Chris Quayle memorial shield.
A wet Thursday morning saw the conclusion of the men’s and ladies Tourism competitions, with five locals in action – Matthew Keggen (Marown) bowed out first game and John Kennish (South Ramsey) lost in the semi-finals; whilst in the ladies, Margie Tasker (Port St Mary) and Philippa Taylor (Marown), both missed out by just one point; the latter beaten by Elaine Moore (South Ramsey), who fell at the next hurdle.
The men’s final saw two of the sport’s big names go head to head, as Wayne Ditchfield (Kirkham) took on Terry Glover (LCC), both having won major honours off-island as well as previous Isle of Man festivals.
Held on Noble’s number one green, the game was evenly balanced all through; they were level at nine apiece, again at 13, and then at 17 across, before Glover recorded the four points needed for victory.
Close-by on number two green, the Meole Brace club provided three of the last four in the ladies contest, with club-mates Julie Pearce and Alison Cotton battling it out for the championship.
Cotton took control in the early stages and led 18-13, before her adversary fought back to move ahead 20-18, however Pearce couldn’t carry on her good run of points and Cotton clinched the title by the closest of margins and completed a double over her fellow club members.
Rounding up the remaining competitions that took place throughout the week, Kevin Quirk (Onchan) just missed out on a win in the men’s consolation, going down 21-20 to Rob Winnington (Castle) and in the ladies consolation, it was Sue Hill from the Meersbrook club who triumphed over Elizabeth Foster (Orrell Rovers) with the same scoreline.
The visit Isle of Man.com flyer saw Mike Coupe (Hoghton) get the better off Neil Wright (Norton Central). Helen Martin (Mooragh Park) lost to the eventual winner in her semi-final.
Jamie King added to the tally of wins for the Wrockwardine Wood entourage when he was successful in the last chance mixed event with a 21-16 victory over Colin Johnstone (St Bernards).
King then went on to partner Sarah Fox (Woodlands Park) in their mixed doubles success. They beat Joan Jolly (Acregate) and Michael Burrows (Orford Warrington Memorial).
Neil Wright also made it into two finals, having taken part in the men’s doubles, which was one of three pairs competitions completed on Thursday evening; he partnered Ian Nicholson (Kendal Vic) to victory over Michael Davies (Netherton Park) and Stuart Sutton (Fairfield).
There was a local triumph in the open pairs when Neil Withers and Paul Dunn (Marown) defeated Craig Gant (Thongsbridge) and Duncan Reeves (Netherton Cons).
Lynda Cadamy from Port Erin competed in the ladies doubles final with Sandra Beveridge (Lansil), but missed out when beaten by Jacqueline Owen (Whitefield) and Eileen Pye (Acregate).
Thanks go to the Department of Economic Development for their continued support, of what is without doubt one of the premier events on the bowling calendar. Also Manx Telecom who provided a unit to help spread the news around the internet.
A big thank you as always to the many helpers who gave their time at all the venues used throughout the week; and a special mention to David Higgins who is stepping down after 15 years as helpers’ coordinator for the men.
Welsh wizard Leighton Roberts (Cunliffe) picked up his first ever Isle of Man Main Men’s Bowls Festival title last week at the second time of asking.
After falling at the final hurdle in June last year, Roberts was in no mood to let this final slip through his fingers against former Champion, and festival stalwart, Martin Gilpin (Kendal Vic).
That said he didn’t have things his own way and despite leading 14-10 found himself level at 15-15 and then again at 17-17 as Gilpin, the master tactician from Cumbria, tried to use all his experience to outfox the youngster and add another festival title to his long list of honours.
Conditions on finals day deteriorated with every bowl sent, but not even the foul weather could stop Roberts who dug deep, and when some thought he might falter due to nerves he found the composure of a true champion. as he managed to seal the win 21-18.
Champion Roberts booked his final birth thanks to a 21-12 win over James Wilcox (Crossgates) and a nail biting 21-20 win over Neil Slattery (Nimble Nook), in which he came from behind with some brilliant bowls to edge to victory.
Gilpin was on song in the semi-finals where he eliminated bookies favourite, close friend and Kendal Vic stable mate Ian Nicholson 21-15 after starting the day with a 21-9 win over Graham Higgins (Lower Hopton).
Marown’s Colin Kelly was the furthest local in the men’s main competition losing out in the last eight to James Wilcox.It was a much better showing for Manxmen in general as in June they failed to get a single player to the last 32 of the competition and this time around eight of our own made it to the same stage.
Tracy Ryan (Meole Brace) bagged the ladies title with a dominant finals day display which never really saw her threatened. She lifted the trophy after a 21-16 final victory over Olwen Edwards (Llanfair Pwll).
Ryan was control from the off and after going 11-6 up managed to ensure Edwards never closed the gap moving to 19-14 up before the latter rallied but could never get back on terms.
Janet Monk (Mooragh Park) was the furthest local lady in the competition as she did exceptionally well to make the semi-finals before going down to Ryan 21-10.
Monk wasn’t the only Manx player in finals day and was in good company as Lyn Bolton and Elaine Moore (both South Ramsey) made the last eight. In fact Monk played Bolton winning 21-14 to make the semis whilst Moore fell 21-18 after a highly entertaining affair against Carleen Doody-Millington (Meole Brace).
Thursday morning saw the final stages of the Mens and Ladies Tourism Competitions and there was some good local presence and some brilliant performances as both Glynn Hargraves and Christine Price made it to the finals of their respective competitions.
Hargraves eventually lost out 21-11 to Ian Nicholson after battling hard in his two previous matches, beating Paul Beer (Meole Brace) 21-20 in his first match of the morning and David Halstead (Kirkham) 21-16 next time out. It was a good week for Glynn who showed some of his best form throughout the week, as he also made the last 32 of the main competition and he should be very proud of his efforts.
South Ramsey team mate John Kennish was also in fine fettle to make the last eight before being eliminated by eventual winner Ian Nicholson 21-16 in the quarter-finals.
It was a similar story for Price who won well in her first two games before going down after a fight 21-17 to Sarah Fox (Woodlands Park). In her semi-final she beat Julie Pearce (Meole Brace) 21-12 after taking down Doody-Millington 21-15 in the quarters. Again Christine should be really proud of her efforts as she really did give a great showing in the competition.
In the Men’s consolation competition Peter Yates (Kirkham) took the win with a 21-15 result over Merseyside’s Danny Barwise. Hazel Borrowdale (Nether Field) won the ladies competition with a win by the same score-line over Joyce Jones (Syke BC)
The last chance Mixed Final saw one of the main competitions pre-tournament favourites Chris Slater (Colwyn Bay Legion) produce a good display to beat Martin Middleton (Meole Brace) 21-14.
The final singles competition of the week, the visit.com flyer, saw two locals battling out with Alec Taylor (Peel Sunset) handling the conditions better to defeat Edward Carlyle 7-0. Congratulations to Alex on his win.
As always the doubles competitions provided a lot of entertainment and another chance of success for visiting and local bowlers alike. The main open doubles was won by Dave & Ben Phillips (Lloyd Hotel) who were on song winning 11-2 against Leighton Roberts & Nick Hughes (Cunliffe).
In the men’s event Bob Whyatt & Steve Baskerville took the title with an 11-1 victory over Mel Hobson & Andrew Moore. Jimmy Samson (Douglas) was the furthest of the locals losing out with visitor Stuart Marshall 11-8 to the eventual winners at the semi final stage.
In the ladies competition there was a Manx victor as June festival champion Jenny Moore (South Ramsey) took the crown with Patricia Lonsdale (Morecambe Bay Mixed) as they beat Dawn Bray and Janet Cropper 11-5.
Elaine Moore just missed out on a mixed doubles win as her and partner Tony Parsons went down 9-5 to Paul Drabble & Nicola Gilmore.
Thanks as always goes to the Department of Economic Development for their continued support of what is without doubt one of the premier events on the bowling calendar.
It was also great to see quite a lot of new faces, as well as regular ones, which is a good indicator that Steve Moore and his team are continuing to do a fantastic job in both promoting and running both the June and September Bowls Festivals.